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Date: Monday, August 25, 2014
Category: Blog

The Edinburgh Comedy Awards 2013 are a grand triumph for anyone who’s been worried that the Fringe is too commercial. In my mind, this proves the real Fringe is back.



Consider: Bridget Christie’s show ‘A Bic for Her’ is on at 11.05am. It’s a rant on feminism (that doesn’t sacrifice angry for funny).

Consider: John Kearns ‘Sight Gags for Perverts’ is on at 17.05. It’s on at the PBH Free Fringe. Last year’s Best Newcomer Daniel Simonsen also came from the Free Fringe, didn’t he? Commercial productions be damned.

Consider: Adrienne Truscott’s show ‘Asking for It – a One-Lady Comedy about Rape Starring her Pussy and Little Else’ is as much performance art as it is comedy. The Truscott character is Adrienne Wau of the Wau Wau Sisters cabaret act. I spoke to her (having missed her show, F**k me) about her 5-star reviews, and she said she was totally surprised. Apparently, she’d heard one too many rape jokes and decided to do a show about it. Her message: ‘Dudes, if you’re going to make rape jokes, then at least make smart jokes.’

We spoke about performance art inspirations like Karen Finley & Annie Sprinkle. Perhaps that’s how she got the idea to perform the show naked from the waist down and to use her body as a canvas for projections. Appropriately, she also won the Malcolm Hardee Award for Comic Originality. When I spoke to her, she said she’s busy enough with the Sisters (they’re actual sisters). An she has no plans to continue Adrienne Truscott. But now that may change.

Also consider the venue where Truscott performed: ‘Heroes at Bob’s Bookshop.’ This is so free fringy it’s not even part of the official Free Fringe. It’s a bookshop. A small bookshop. You can tell how uncomfortable it was for male reviewers:!?review=3545

Apparently, this year’s Edinburgh Comedy Award panel had a hard time choosing. This is the first time in awhile there were 7 acts on the Shortlist for Best Show. Personally, I had a hard time believing a couple of these names were on here. Here’s who Bridget beat out:

Thanks to Anil Desai for introducing me to Adrienne. Thanks to Facebook & Stewart Lee for introducing me to Bridget Christie.

Coming soon: Where should I put on my show at Fringe 2014? There are at least 3 Turf Wars going on – which side to choose?


I love the Uitmarkt in Amsterdam. It’s Free Preview Weekend to kick off the theater season… and a chance for artists to elbow each other. I performed at Sugar Factory and brought flyers for my 3 different projects, but I also had the audacity to hand out flyers in public! I was quickly reminded by Uitmarkt staff that this was not allowed. I asked why? Apparently my flyers were not allowed in that specific area (the high-budget productions).

Luckliy, there was also the Uitmarkt Book Festival, and I also had flyers for my book. Here, I was also told flyering was not allowed. This year for the first time, the Uitmarkt Book Festival is merging with Manuscripta – the annual festival to open the literary season. Publishers taking part in Manuscripta pay to get in. So I was basically mooching. I felt bad, since the current theme in Dutch publishing is crisis & cutbacks. I did take a moment to shout out loud – ‘Of course you’re not selling anything – YOU’RE PUBLISHING IN DUTCH!’ Other than being the 37th biggest language in the world, it’s just awful to listen to. I love the Dutch people – they’re the ones who legalized euthanasia. So why not let the Dutch language die already?

Tonight is the opening of the Amsterdam Fringe. I just got back from the Edinburgh Fringe, and I’m eager to join in the buzz. I wonder if I should go hand out flyers for my show? (absolutely not)
The Edinburgh Fringe apparently had more shows than ever this year. And it was pretty crowded as far as I could tell. Yet I’ve never noticed the level of cutthroat turf battles I saw this year.
– Int’l vs Fringe. Of course, it should be mentioned that the Fringe is itself a split-off from the International Festival. Now it’s much bigger than the Int’l Festival. But they’re cool.
– The Fringe vs. the Free Fringe. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is such a mecca for comedians that it’s largely become a comedy festival. By now there is a conglomerate of venues, known as The Big 4 – aka ‘The Commercial Fringe.’ The Pleasance, Gilded Balloon, Assembly and Underbelly are all gathered around the Univ. of Edinburgh’s Bristo Square.
BUT – as an alternative to the Commercial Fringe – there’s the Free Fringe. It’s a collective of venues who agree to pass the hat instead of charging admission. They’re now at least 10 years old and have more venues and shows than ever. Recently, they’re also racking up something new: awards.

– SO maybe the Free Fringe will bring balance and harmony? NOT QUITE. Now there are TWO free fringes: The PBH Free Fringe and the Laughing Horse Free Fringe. Why? Because PBH = Peter Buckley Hill, and he had a falling out with the other guy, who stole his idea and started the split-off. Enough bad blood? Not even close!

– The biggest, most awkward rift is the Assembly situation. The Assembly Rooms closed down a few years ago for renovations. The organizers relocated the Assembly to be part of the Big 4 – temporarily. Meanwhile, you may ask, aren’t there any resident comedy clubs in Edinburgh? Don’t they take part in the Fringe? Why, yes – there’s The Stand. By Edinburgh, for Edinburgh.

And – quicker than you can say ‘Scottish nationalism’ – somehow The Stand moved into the renovated Assembly Rooms instead of the original Assembly. The British owner of the Assembly name took his Eton-educated haughtiness straight to the Edinburgh city council and was reportedly laughed out of the building. Keeping his stiff, properly British upper lip, the Assembly changed its name to the Assembly Festival – with their own guide – and the Assembly Rooms also have their own guide.
The Assembly Festival has its traditional Spiegel Tent. The Assembly Rooms have recreated their old Spiegel Tent – known as the ‘Famous Spiegel Tent.’ The result of all this bitter rivalry is a lot of pissed-off punters showing up at the wrong place and wasting thousands of Pounds, giving the entire festival a bad name.

Hopefully, the Amsterdam Fringe will never succumb to such petty in-fighting. BUT – I just found out the show where I agreed to perform tonight is not part of the Fringe, but part of the Amsterdam Free Fringe… I brought this to the attention of the Fringe director Anneke, and she said ‘the more the merrier! Tell them next time to answer their emails, and we’ll include them in the listings!’
I’ll tell them.